Salta is a great city, it took me a couple of days to get a feel for it but have decided to stay a few days longer and enjoy it, especially as have found some good company here including friends from Cafayate. Salta has a very different feel to Mendoza.. whether it’s the heat or the narrow streets or just the colour but life here feels more ‘intense’. For once I also have some useful words .. well, useful from the point of view of anyone heading this way by bike so stay tuned for those (scroll down I mean..). First though as I have spent a happy morning wandering with my camera I think I’ll just sling up some street photography up that might give a feel for the place from it’s densely packed colonial core to the more modern, open ‘burbs…. and no apology for the fact that bicycles and groovy old trucks feature quite extensively ;-)
good empanadas & humitas at the mercado municipal.. which also happens to be a great steamy, sweaty box of humanity :-)
and TVs everywhere
this pic needs bums on seats.. but no bums in evidence sadly
some bums here however
presumably it started with the wheels being nicked...
And now for the useful stuff… having managed to sort just about everything with my bike in the space of a morning it may be handy for anyone heading this way who comes to these pages to know where to go for bike bits, help and excellent conversation…
First off the bike shop – Salta’s biggest is on the southwest corner of Pelligrini and Corrientes south-south -west of the city centre. Pelligrini is the road you’ll come into the city on if coming from Cafayate on Ruta 68… It’s pretty well stocked with Shimano road and mountain stuff.. prices are much the same as the UK… I paid about £55 I guess for a new chain and cassette… XT stuff too :-)
As for a bike mechanic… well I have what I need to do everything myself except remove the bottom bracket so I didn’t need to go looking for Rene, David and Hector but having heard about them through the bike-traveller grapevine (the internet is a wonderful thing these days…) I figured it had to be worth it. It was. Although the workshop appeared to have downscaled somewhat from when I it was first written about (here: http://www.pushonnorth.com/Bike-shops-and-bike-mechanics-in-Latin-and-North-America
) David was still there when I visited with my bike and new parts, and based on a cheery wave from him through the window when I arrived it doesn’t look like he’s fed up of bike travellers yet :-) So while he set about stripping down and servicing my freehub and realigning my rear mech hangar (clouted it on a rock on a rock I guess, possibly on the crazy descent from Tocata to Iglesia…) I admired his handiwork in the form of models and sculptures assembled from wood and scrap metal.
I also had my failing cycling shoes with me .. they were taken care of when he asked a friend of his to take me to a little repair shop a couple of blocks away where they were fixed up for the princely sum of 5 pesos :-)
Back at the workshop David has a book of messages of goodwill from cyclists heading north and south dating from 2006, it made interesting reading though for some reason the entries dried up after late 2007… a big jump then to mine for 2010. Definitely worth dropping by even if you only need a drop of polish on your bike, honestly I was happy to leave it to his attentions and now it’s clean and running sweetly as ever.
If you do go looking then the address is Pje David Lascano 133, San Felipe y Santiago Al 1500, 4400 Salta , it’s just south of the area shown on the tourist maps of the city and has no sign but if you go half a block south of the junction between Ave Independencia and San Felipe y Santiago you’ll find it… the shop is south facing on the western side of SF y Santigo and has some faded logos painted on the wall. So there you go, some useful words for a change … well, if you’re on a bike anyway.
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